Drone venture takes off


John Keyworth flies one of his drones.
Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au   d448264
John Keyworth flies one of his drones. Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au d448264

Clarkson Community High School technology and enterprise co-ordinator John Keyworth launched Lofty Visions, an aerial video company, after learning to fly a drone through the school’s innovation program.

“It all started early last year when I bought a drone for the school so the students could learn about this new technology,” he said.

“After a few weeks of using the school drone I bought a similar one for myself, as a hobby at first.

“I took it on holiday to Tasmania in July and made a montage of clips from the Tamar region.”

Mr Keyworth said feedback on the movie got him thinking about setting up a business, and so, after a bit of research, he invested in a DJI Inspire 1 drone.

“The drone navigates via GPS and can travel at speeds of up to 80km/h, can shoot movies up to 4K Ultra-HD resolution and takes 12-megapixel still images,” he said.

“While going through the licensing process, I set up my website at www.loftyvisions.com.au and tested many new software applications.

“Obviously I can offer video and photography for things like advertising and real estate, but there are so many other uses for this technology; aerial surveying with drones is a very new industry.

“I can survey areas at a much higher resolution than Google Earth or fixed-wing aircraft can, for example, and then turn the images into a 3D interactive model; great for construction companies, the government, farmers and many other industries.

“The infra-red camera will be great for surveying crops for farmers to help them increase yields, and of course for search and rescue situations should the need arise.”

Mr Keyworth said becoming a commercial drone pilot had been a long process, as the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) required him to know the rules just as any aircraft pilot would.

“A larger drone can cause a great deal of damage in the wrong hands,” he said. “CASA conduct stringent testing of commercial pilots to ensure they are competent flyers.”

Mr Keyworth said photography had always interested him, and he was now teaching it to Year 12 students.